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Surprise as Hyundai ix35 SE Czechs in

First off the rank: The ix35 SE is the first Hyundai sold in Australia to be built in Europe, and will be joined by the i30 tourer – also Czech built – within months.

Hyundai Australia turns to Europe to ease supply constraints on ix35 crossover

11 Jan 2013

HYUNDAI Motor Company Australia (HMCA) will alleviate tight supply of its popular, Korean-built ix35 small SUV by sourcing an additional SE two-wheel-drive variant from Europe.

The surprise announcement means the ix35 SE – which is built at Nosovice in the Czech Republic – becomes the first model HMCA has imported from Europe, and brings a range of Euro-exclusive features not found on the rest of the range.

Based on the entry level Active front-drive variant, the SE is powered by the same 122kW/197Nm ‘Theta’ four-cylinder petrol engine matched exclusively to a six-speed automatic transmission.

Unique features include a Euro-specific front bumper with fog-lights, projector head-lights with dusk sensors, power folding side mirrors, 17-inch alloy wheels and darker rear window tinting. The cabin gets leather/leatherette seats (heated in the front) and a chilled glovebox.

Also fitted to the car is a rear-view camera integrated into the electro-chromatic rear-view mirror.

At $29,990 plus on-road costs, the SE commands a $1000 premium over the standard Active front-drive automatic.

The first European-built Hyundai to come Down Under had been expected to be the i30 Tourer, which was initially ruled out but later confirmed for Australian release in the first quarter of this year following favourable currency shifts and an excess of supply due to Europe’s economic woes.

Like the ix35 SE, the i30 Tourer will be sourced for Australia from Nosovice, and it is understood HMCA’s case to open a shipping line with the Czech plant was helped by strong exchange rates, which enabled the company to keep pricing low.

Furthermore, declining sales in much of mainland Europe, a result of the continuing economic struggles of many European countries, has yielded a surplus of new stock that needs to be sent somewhere – in this case, Australia.

HMCA is understood to be pursuing a business case to expand its Czech-sourced range beyond the ix35 SE and i30 Tourer, with possible candidates including the slinky i30 three-door hatchback, which could broaden the company’s ‘sporty’ range beyond the oddball Veloster.

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